Industry Partnership Masterclass: How to Talk to Employers – Webinar Recap

Published on Sep 26, 2019

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Remie Verougstraete

Industry Partnership Masterclass: How to Talk to Employers – Webinar Recap

When educators connect their institution’s mission to the needs of their regional economy, employers thrive, communities prosper, and students’ lives are transformed.

That’s the conviction behind our recent industry partnership masterclass with Jeff Spain (workforce solutions senior consultant) and Scott Wegeng (director of employer engagement and experiential learning) from Columbus State Community College, addressing the topic: How to talk to employers.

Spain and Wegeng offered a behind-the-scenes look at the strategies and best practices they’ve used to develop thriving “earn and learn” partnerships with 26 leading employers in their region, including household names like Honda and Target. As a result of these partnerships, CSCC is able to offer highly relevant, in-demand programs (with exceptional retention and completion rates) that help students graduate on time and qualify for fulfilling, high-wage jobs.

Watch the full recording, or jump to a specific part of the presentation using the detailed outline below. You can also read the case study to learn more.

Webinar Outline

Introduction (Emsi)

  • The “Why”: Higher education is an engine for economic development – (3:10)

  • The “How”: Using data to connect your institution’s mission to employers’ needs – (4:31)

  • The “What”: A vision for what your institution can achieve – (7:04)

  • Five ways institutions should use labor market analysis – (8:49)

  • Examples of success – (10:25)

Transforming students lives through strategic employer engagement (CSCC)

  • How CSCC used Emsi data – (12:44)

  • Employer engagement overview – (13:48)

  • Finding the right partners (employers, faculty, and students) – (14:56)

  • The employer engagement process – (17:32)

  • Translating between business and academia – (20:28)

  • Curricular alignment and sequencing – (21:30)

The earn and learn model (CSCC)

  • Program format – (22:16

  • The employer’s role – (30:48)

  • Recruiting students – (37:41)

  • Tracking outcomes to ensure long-term success – (40:12)


  • How did you get buy-in for this program from both Honda and your students? – (44:35)

  • How long did it take to get this up and running? How is the program doing now? – (47:40)

  • How do you engage parents? – (49:14)

  • How do you engage faculty? – (52:04

  • What specific labor market data has been helpful for starting and guiding conversations? – (54:04)

  • Who pays for this program? How is tuition funded? – (55:30)

  • Is this a registered apprenticeship program? Why not? – (56:56)

  • Do all of your employer partners pay the same wage? – (57:45)

  • Do you do any recruitment outside of high schools? – (59:08)

Follow up questions


To learn more, read the case study about CSCC’s modern manufacturing work study program or visit To receive notifications for future webinars, subscribe to the Emsi newsletter. If you have questions or would like to chat, please contact us